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Undefeatable

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    87
    from 2 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Undefeatable, with Rothrock & Ho, mixes goofy action & sluggishness into a unique watch, now in 4K.

    Undefeatable 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    87
  • Despite original negative damage, Undefeatable’s UHD transfer impresses with vivid colors, fine grain, and detailed presentation, balancing restoration with preserving film authenticity.

  • Audio
    84
  • The 2.0 DTS-HD MA mixes deliver clear dialogue and music with minor sibilance and hiss issues, offering sharp effects for action, in a clean audio presentation despite a flat soundscape.

  • Extra
    87
  • The 'Undefeatable' release features engaging interviews with cast and crew, revealing behind-the-scenes insights and the film's unintentional humor, supplemented by detailed video essays, trailers, and a booklet, enriching the martial arts classic's appreciation.

  • Movie
    67
  • Undefeatable, a campy action film, stars Cynthia Rothrock in a bizarre tale of revenge and martial arts, directed by Godfrey Ho with a mix of extreme tonal shifts and over-the-top fight scenes.

    Video: 87

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation of "Undefeatable" by Vinegar Syndrome faces the formidable task of bringing to life a film whose original negatives were marred by years of neglect. Despite these challenges, the restoration team’s efforts are commendable, managing to deliver a notably impressive visual experience. The introduction cards set the tone, acknowledging the substantial damage and the limitations it imposed on the restoration process. This honesty prepares viewers for minor imperfections, including scratches, wear lines, and color fluctuations. However, these issues do not detract significantly from the overall visual feast that follows. The 2160p presentation, framed at 1.85:1 with a robust HEVC encode, masterfully navigates through these damages, offering clarity and vividness that exceeds expectations.

    Detail reproduction is outstanding, capturing the nuance of skin textures, intricate costume designs, and both interior and exterior environments with depth and precision. The color palette is vibrant, with primaries popping off the screen and skin tones remaining consistently natural. The application of HDR is thoughtful, enhancing these elements without overemphasis, thereby avoiding the pitfall of blowing out the brighter areas or distorting flesh tones. Shadow details are surprisingly well-preserved, contributing to a visual richness that is seldom seen in films of this age and condition. Particularly noteworthy is how well the darker sequences and the climactic fight scene have been handled; the latter shines in this restoration, effectively relegating previous subpar SD versions to obscurity.

    The technical prowess displayed in this 4K UHD Blu-ray video section of "Undefeatable" serves as a testament to Vinegar Syndrome's dedication to film preservation and restoration. Even with the source material's evident wear and tear, the team’s meticulous work ensures a visually stunning experience that respects the film's original aesthetic while honoring its place in cinema history. The fine grain, maintained throughout, preserves the filmic look, marking this release as an essential addition for collectors and enthusiasts alike who value both technical merit and historical significance in their home viewing library.

    Audio: 84

    The audio presentation of "Undefeatable" on 4K UHD Blu Ray, featuring a 2.0 DTS-HD MA mix, manages to provide a clear and engaging listening experience despite some noted flaws. Dialogue delivery is straightforward, ensuring that exchanges between characters are comprehensible, though there are occasional sibilance issues that distract from the clarity. The music, characterized by its defined synth sound, supports the film's atmosphere and pacing well. Additionally, the mix captures the intensity of the film's action scenes, with sound effects for body blows and property destruction rendered sharply, adding a visceral layer to the viewing experience.

    Vinegar Syndrome’s release uses a DTS-HD MA presentation of the original mono soundtrack, which is described as punchy despite a somewhat flat soundscape. This is an interesting achievement for a budget production, where the balance between the film's rather cheap score and dialogue is meticulously maintained, ensuring that neither overpowers the other. The clarity of sound effects, especially during combat sequences characterized by grunts and kicks, is commendable, enhancing the film's immersive quality. While minor hiss and pops are noted, they do not significantly detract from what is overall a clean and satisfying audio experience.

    In sum, the audio presentation on this release surprisingly elevates the material, providing a robust backdrop to the on-screen action and drama. Despite some technical shortcomings like sibilance issues and a flat soundscape, the mix effectively balances various audio elements. This includes a well-defined music score and cleanly produced sound effects, making it a commendable effort in restoring and presenting "Undefeatable" in its best possible auditory form for its 4K UHD Blu Ray edition.

    Extra: 87

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray of "Undefeatable" stands out not only for its main feature but also for its rich collection of extras, providing fans and new viewers alike a comprehensive dive into the film's production, legacy, and its unique space in martial arts cinema. Anchored by new interviews with key cast members including Cynthia Rothrock, and director Godfrey Ho, the supplements explore the film's creation from various angles – from the challenges of martial arts choreography to the intricacies of shooting on American soil. Contributions like the insightful commentary tracks, detailed video essays, and the comparison between "Undefeatable" and its alternate cut, "Bloody Mary Killer," offer a multifaceted look into the film's cult appeal and technical achievements. The inclusion of original trailers and a booklet with an essay by Danielle Burgos further enriches this package, making it an essential acquisition for enthusiasts of genre cinema.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Audio Commentary with Cynthia Rothrock: Insights into the making of "Undefeatable."
    • Godfrey Ho Discusses Undefeatable: A new interview providing the director's perspective.
    • It's a Cartoon with People: A fresh interview with cinematographer Phil Cook.
    • Street Fighter: Cynthia Rothrock returns in this interview discussing her experiences.
    • They Call Him Stingray: Interview with actor Don Niam on his martial arts movie journey.
    • A Mind for Action: Donna Jason talks about her dual role as actress and assistant director.
    • Cynthia Rothrock: A Legendary Life: A video essay by Samm Deighan & Charles Perks.
    • 'Undefeatable' vs. 'Bloody Mary Killer': Video essay detailing differences between both versions.
    • Trailers: Original trailers for "Undefeatable" and "Bloody Mary Killer."
    • 12-page Booklet: Contains an essay by film historian Danielle Burgos.

    Movie: 67

    Undefeatable," directed by the notoriously eclectic Godfrey Ho, presents a bizarre yet fascinating amalgam of martial arts cinema transported into an American setting, complete with over-the-top action and an unusual narrative undercurrent. Featuring Cynthia Rothrock as Kristi, the movie delivers a unique blend of heartfelt motives behind brutal street fighting, with Kristi's ambitions to support her sister's education driving her into the underground fight scene. The movie pivots on the duality of characters: Kristi, the strong-willed diner server and street fighter, versus Paul (Don Niam), a mechanic-turned-kickboxer whose descent into madness after his girlfriend leaves him sets him on a path of violence. The dichotomy between Kristi's mission of familial support and Paul's vengeance-driven rampage provides a compelling albeit eccentric storyline that strays far from conventional action movie narratives.

    Ho's direction is characterized by its lack of subtlety, often verging on the cartoonish, yet it's precisely this quality that gives "Undefeatable" its peculiar charm. The fight choreography, despite occasionally lapsing into camp, showcases Rothrock's martial arts prowess against a backdrop of hyper-masculine adversaries and exaggerated villains. The dynamic between Kristi and Detective Nick DiMarco (John Miller) adds an unconventional layer to the movie, steering it away from typical buddy-cop motifs into something uniquely its own. Ho chooses to heavily invest in sequences that highlight Rothrock's fighting skills over developing a cohesive plot, making "Undefeatable" a spectacle of action set pieces.

    Evidently, "Undefeatable" emerges as an oddity within both Rothrock's filmography and 90s action cinema. Its stylistic choices and narrative eccentricities position it as a cult classic that eschews mainstream appeal for a distinct identity. With Rothrock carrying the film with a mix of physicality and the occasional emotional depth, coupled with Ho's unapologetically chaotic direction, "Undefeatable" stands as a testament to the era's experimental approach to action movies, delivering an experience that's as memorable as it is unconventional.

    Total: 87

    Undefeatable, with its mix of campy acting and sporadic ultraviolence, sits as an intriguing piece for enthusiasts of cult cinema, particularly for those who revel in the absurdity that only bad movie night can appreciate. The collaboration between Cynthia Rothrock and director Godfrey Ho has birthed a cinematic experience that is as bewildering as it is fascinating. While the film itself might struggle with pacing issues—sometimes dipping into sluggishness that hampers its ability to fully embrace the revenge thriller genre—it maintains a level of engagement through its sheer goofiness and odd charm. This singularity is amplified by the 4K Ultra HD presentation by Vinegar Syndrome, which surprisingly breathes life into the damaged source material, presenting it in stunning quality that belies its original budget constraints.

    Technical aspects of this release deserve a spotlight, as the HDR enhancement provides a richness to the visuals that elevates the viewing experience significantly. Coupled with a generous supplements package, this release not only serves as a homage to a video store classic but also as a testament to the capabilities of modern restoration technologies in preserving and enhancing cinematic history. It's noteworthy how well the 4K UHD presentation manages to make every kick and punch pop, breathing new life into Rothrock's revenge quest and Ho's martial art demonstrations, which punctuate the film with a sense of purpose amidst the chaos.

    In conclusion, while Undefeatable may never win accolades for its narrative or cinematic mastery, this 4K UHD Blu Ray release by Vinegar Syndrome has certainly given it a new lease on life. The film's inherent sluggishness and bizarre choices are somewhat mitigated by a stellar presentation that maximizes its visual potential, making it an enticing pick for collectors and fans of the genre alike. For those willing to embrace its idiosyncrasies, this release finds a way to recommend itself not just as a tribute to the peculiar legacy of Cynthia Rothrock and Godfrey Ho, but as a vivid illustration of how technological advancement can rejuvenate even the most obscure pieces of film history.